Brooke Chaplen scored the only goal of the game as Reading FC Women got back to winning ways with a 1-0 win away at Liverpool Women.
In front of a Prenton Park crowd – as well as a global audience via Facebook Live – Chaplen’s well-taken strike 10 minutes before the interval was enough to earn Reading all three points in the FA Women’s Super League.
Christie Murray had the game’s first effort for the Reds, dipping a free-kick into the arms of Grace Moloney in the Reading net, and then Laura Coombs went close as she got on the end of Niamh Charles’ delivery.
Chaplen could have grabbed her goal earlier in the game, but was blocked out at the last as she tried to round off a well-worked set piece routine for the Royals.
And then Liverpool debutant Fran Kitching adjusted brilliantly to keep Fara Williams’ free-kick at bay, as both attacks were left frustrated.
But then the breakthrough came – and it was simple stuff in the end. Captain Kirsty Pearce went direct as she spotted the lively run of Chaplen, and it was a fine first-time finish with a defender in tow to hammer the bouncing ball past the goalkeeper and into the net.
The Reds withstood some early pressure at the start of the second half, keeping the Royals’ lead to just a single goal – but then their task became more difficult when they were reduced to 10 before the hour.
Rhiannon Roberts, already on a yellow, put in a dangerous tackle on Lauren Bruton and somehow escaped further punishment. But from the resulting free-kick routine, she once again lunged on the Reading forward, leaving Bruton in a heap and failing to play the ball. The dismissal was inevitable.
Bruton, Rachel Furness and Williams all had opportunities to further extend the lead, but missed the target. And Liverpool, not giving up, pushed hard to try and steal a point.
But in the end Reading held out and the Royals climbed to fourth in the table.
Full-time: Liverpool FC Women 0-1 Reading FC Women
Liverpool FC Women: Kitching, Matthews, Robe, Roberts, S.Murray, Bradley-Auckland, Coombs, Clarke (Linnett 80), Charles, C.Murray (Babajide 68), Sweetman-Kirk (Fahey 64).
Unused subs: Daniels, Little.
Reading FC Women: Moloney, Potter, Pacheco (Jane 64), Rowe (Davison 72), Pearce, Williams, Allen, Harding, Furness, Bruton, Chaplen.
Unused subs: Laws, Bartrip, Escourt.